I might be a little biased as a cosplay photographer but, cosplay photoshoots can be one of the best things about cosplay! Seeing your hard work in a nice photo can be such a great feeling, so I wanted to talk about how to prepare yourself for a cosplay photoshoot.
If you already have a photographer you’re interested in working with, you can ignore this chunk. Finding a photographer that you’d like to work with is made a lot easier now with social media and cosplay related websites. Making sure you like the photographers style is very important to getting the photographs you want. If you want something light and airy, but the photographers style is dark and moody, it’s probably not a good fit (Unless the photographer is willing to challenge the way they do photographs. Doesn’t hurt to ask!).
Getting recommendations for photographers through friends can be one of the best ways to get solid photographs. Your friends can vouch for the quality and friendliness of the photographer and it might alleviate some anxiety if it’s your first time. Most photographers will make a blog post or a blurb on social media when they are booking for conventions. If the photographer is near your home town, it is most likely that they are conducting photoshoots year round and you can contact them outside of a convention for a local photoshoot. Again, doesn’t hurt to ask!
Practicing posing is one of the major keys to having a successful photoshoot. I always suggest having a few poses in mind when going into a photoshoot. They can range anywhere from fan art poses to fashion poses. Practicing these poses before before your shoot will help with your confidence and will even make it more dynamic because the photographer should have their own poses in mind as well. I firmly stand in the belief that both the photographer and the cosplayer should have poses ready for the photoshoot.
For people who are new to posing or photoshoots, we have a bunch of videos about posing from facial expressions, to what to do with your hands and posing with another person. Practicing things like facial expressions and full body poses is SO helpful, even if you feel goofy standing in front of your mirror doing it. I also suggest (if you have time) to practice some posing with a friend. You don’t need a fancy camera (a cellphone camera is fine), and just have them some take snapshots of you while you’re doing the poses you practiced. This will help you visualize how your face and body will look like in a photograph. When you get to the shoot, a good photographer will be able to guide you to making the pose the best for that certain photograph.
Be open to new ideas! I’ve had a few instances where I pose the cosplayer and then after showing them the photograph they say, “Oh! It looks so cool. At the time I thought the pose was so weird, but I love the way it turned out.” Sometimes poses that are a little uncomfortable physically, can be the most dynamic looking. This section also crosses over with communication. I can not tell you how important communication between the cosplayer and the photographer is. Is your armor making it hard to put your arms above your head? Tell the photographer! Did you injure your leg and now squatting hurts? Tell the photographer! Do you have a pimple you would like photoshopped out? Tell. The. Photographer. Communicate if you have a interesting location in mind. Communicate if a situation is making you feel uncomfortable. Communicate if you’re having the best time ever. It will make your future relationship with that photographer so much better and the quality of photographs will improve greatly.
An example of great communication I’ve had, has to do with the location of a shoot. A cosplayer was interested in doing some pictures with water. She let me know that she was more than willing to jump into a fountain and get some cool shots of her “swimming” or splashing around. If she would have never communicated that she was willing to do that, we would have never gotten the amazing photographs that we did.
Bring a family member, friend or significant other if you’re feeling a little shy or uncomfortable and let the photographer know that you’re doing so! Bringing someone can help you feel better about the shoot and they can also help you fix your cosplay if needed.
As always, have fun! Even though a cosplay photoshoot can be a lot of work, it should also be fun! 🙂
If you have any questions about cosplay photoshoots or cosplay photography. Comment below!